Some days my job has pretty nice perks, like the recent Friday I spent sampling a host of creative whole grain recipes in a culinary contest. After much smacking of lips, all five of us judges agreed that this veggie burger made from whole grains, mushrooms, red pepper, onion and herbs was the clear winner.

“My inspiration for this dish is the basic Midwestern cheeseburger,” wrote chef Ray Noonan. “I used fresh organic spinach as my lettuce, with goat cheese and panko bread crumbs for the cheese and ‘bun.’” Creative dabs of chipotle ketchup and wasabi mustard dressed the plate and added nice zip.

The contest was organized by Compass North America – a foodservice company that runs cafeterias at many of the nation’s schools, healthcare facilities, and workplaces – to encourage their chefs to explore the creative possibilities of whole grains. Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, a Whole Grains Council member, donated Sunrise Blend Quinoa Mix (a flavorful blend of Kamut® bulgur wheat, Peruvian quinoa flakes, flax seed, buckwheat groats, and puffed Colusari® red rice) to serve as inspiration to all participating chefs. (Cindy — June 12, 2008)

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